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5 ways employers can support staff mental health

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More than 12.5 million working days were lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2016/17

Employers in Havering and beyond are being asked to start the conversation around stress in their workplaces as part of National Stress Awareness Day.

According to a report by the Health and Safety Executive, more than 526,000 workers suffered from work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2016/17.

The same report also notes that more than 11 million working days were lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety in the same period – a massive cost to businesses across the UK.

Here are several things you can do to support staff who might be feeling under pressure.

Physical and mental health are linked

There is no health without mental health. Anyone who has had a medical condition which has prevented them from going out would notice their mental health will have been affected.

 

Identify the early warning signs

Employers need to accept when staff say they are “stressed” this mean their mental health is suffering. Not all stress is bad for us; at times we can even perform better due to a little stress, but when colleagues are reading emails on annual leave, or working more hours than they are paid, it’s not just a sign they are conscientious workers but that they may be suffering with anxiety over their workload.

 

Promote wellbeing in the workplace

This could be as simple as arrange for a social walk or a kick about during the lunch break. It will be a great team builder, and it’s always good to have time out of the office.

 

Reduce the stigma

If a colleague has been off with a broken leg don’t treat them any differently to the colleague who has been off due to an emotional breakdown. Simply ask if they are okay and if you can help them in their return to work.

 

Management style plays a big part

If the only time a staff member see the boss is when they have done something wrong, or during a one-to-one or Personal Development Review, they would be concerned if they got called in to see the boss. Make the effort to speak to employees, even if it just asking about their holiday or whether they watched the big game. This will help build a better relationship and reduce the pressure.

 

Brenda Hunt is a Curriculum Development Manager here at Havering Adult College. She delivers our Mental Health First Aid training to organisations and individuals across London and Essex.

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